Do risk and compliance have a part to play in reducing pollution?

Do risk and compliance have a part to play in reducing pollution? EQ2 certainly thinks so.

Steve Burt, the founder and CEO of EQ2, is a former economist having worked at senior levels with Dun & Bradstreet and British Petroleum. His approach, which he calls Granular Resource Economics (GRE), enables companies to quickly see at a glance the entire spectrum of their emissions down to parts per million.

Why is this important?

Well, consider one of the verticals Steve is looking at – the aviation industry (see EQ2‘s excellent Sustainable Flying Report – PDF) . As Steve says, a single flight taking off from an airport, in pollution terms, is not a significant event. But when an airport handles hundreds of flights per day. What is the accumulated pollution from all the flights, incoming and outgoing, it has ever handled? Now project this forward for all the flights it is going to handle…

When you think of pollution from planes, you typically think in terms of CO2. EQ2 go well beyond that though and in the case of aviation, for example, you will also see the numbers for SOx, NOx, and other constituents emitted from jet fuel such as mercury, selenium, arsenic, particulates, etc. When you start to run those numbers for even moderately sized airports, the results can be quite sobering. For airports located near water this could be especially troubling.

And it is not just airports – all organisations need to find out what their liabilities are with respect to their accumulated emissions. A recent report for the UN has found that the world’s top firms caused US$2.2 trillion of environmental damage in 2008 alone. This is obviously unsustainable and is merely a preface to more restrictive pollution controls being enacted which:

is likely to argue for abolition of billions of dollars of subsidies to harmful industries like agriculture, energy and transport, tougher regulations and more taxes on companies that cause the damage

Imagine for a sec if communities in the vicinity of Drax or Kingsnorth coal-fired power plants in the UK decided to sue for the environmental damage wrought on them by these power plants. The kind of information EQ2 can provide would be invaluable in helping these facilities reduce their emissions and minimise the increasing risks associated with being a polluter.

With that in mind, how many firms can afford to remain ignorant of the full spectrum of their emissions?


September 7th GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show

This is the video from today’s GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show – see below for the chatstream:

03:30 Tom Raftery: Do we have audio/video?
03:31 MikeTheBee: I weren’t
03:31 MikeTheBee: Video and Audio
03:31 iangb: i can see and hear
03:31 MikeTheBee: Yep
03:32 MikeTheBee: Bank Hol Last week in UK
03:33 Tom Raftery:
03:33 MikeTheBee: The more the merrier
03:35 Tom Raftery:
03:36 Tom Raftery:
03:36 MikeTheBee: increasing from the 1900’s by the look. the start of coal usage
03:38 Tom Raftery:
03:39 Tom Raftery:
03:41 Tom Raftery:
03:44 Tom Raftery:
03:45 Tom Raftery:
03:46 Tom Raftery:
03:47 Tom Raftery:
03:48 Tom Raftery:
03:49 Tom Raftery:
03:50 dahowlett: Was that Tara Aso or Tara Asshole?
03:50 Tom Raftery:
03:51 Tom Raftery:
03:52 liveireland: getting solar heating this week myself!! 🙂
03:53 Tom Raftery:
03:55 Tom Raftery:
03:57 Tom Raftery:
03:58 Tom Raftery:
03:58 dahowlett: Screw solar heating, I want solar air con
03:59 Tom Raftery:
03:59 monkchips: bah missed the start of the show
03:59 Tom Raftery: Coolerado
04:00 dahowlett: Got it:
04:00 monkchips: low energy aircon? talk about a global necessity!
04:01 Tom Raftery:
04:02 monkchips: that is BOLLOCKS
04:02 monkchips: if everyone use it the bottleneck moves. this model wont scale
04:02 monkchips: this from GPS marketing board?
04:02 liveireland: ntl acting up here will have to watch repeat
04:02 cminion: @monkchips yeah i was just wondering if it would scale
04:03 monkchips: wanna cut carbon – cycle instead.
04:03 Tish Shute: Tom what do u think about the Plug Alliance in the US pushing Zigbee
04:03 MikeTheBee: from TomTom or GarmIn?
04:03 cminion: or move closer to your work
04:03 monkchips: we spoke to ford
04:03 monkchips: the other day though and they are all over zigbee right?
04:04 MikeTheBee: Did you discusss the Aussie Oil Slick
04:04 monkchips: ******* GREAT call.
04:04 dahowlett: I sue Google Maps on my Nokia N96 for GPS data
04:04 Tish Shute: Google Power Meter were making a case against the Zigbee and Plig Alliance approach
04:04 liveireland: I’ll plug you into the liveireland next week Tom..missed u this week
04:04 monkchips: “eevees”
04:04 dahowlett: use…not sue…doh!
04:04 Tish Shute: not Plig Plug hehe
04:05 dahowlett: I”ve doubled my distance for working…10 yards instead of 5 yards
04:05 monkchips: hey tish- interesting. the car people, part of the smart grid, atre definielt talking zigbee
04:06 monkchips: not a bad audience for the show this week, considering its a public holday in the US. well done tom.
04:06 cminion: Cheers for the show, time for home i think
04:06 Tish Shute: Google P M were making “you own your own data ” argument hehe!
04:06 dahowlett: TTFN
04:06 liveireland: slan
04:06 Tish Shute: bye thanks Tom!
04:06 MikeTheBee: Cheers Tom, and all
04:06 Tom Raftery: Thanks evertonre for interest, contributions & time


Seriously people, the correct order is planet first, then people, then profit.

Someone I know and respect made a bit of a boo boo last week and I called him on it. In response to the announcement of BP’s “Giant oil find” in the Gulf of Mexico, he Tweeted:

Giant oil reserver [sic] in the Gulf, most rushing to drill it except the US. Wouldn’t that be ready made jobs and revenue?

To which I replied:

Wouldn’t it be ready-made pollution (CO2)? Ethics of celebrating jobs & revenue based on planetary destruction?

People seem to be all too ready to forget about the fact that climate change doesn’t stop to consider whether there is a recession. It doesn’t say, “oh, there’s a down-turn and you want to pump a few extra million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere? No problem, you should have said, go right ahead”

At least in the case of the BP find, according to this Wall Street Journal analysis, recovery rates may be as low as 5-15% (150-450m barrels of oil) – still a lot of CO2 but significantly less oil than the headlines were suggesting.

e.on UK, is the energy company which owns the infamous Kingsnorth power station. Kingsnorth is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the UK and alone is responsible for roughly 7.3m tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere per annum. e.on UK has launched Talking Energy, a channel on YouTube to foster an online dialogue about energy.

However, as you would expect, the company stresses energy sources which will benefit e.on and its shareholders in the short-term, as opposed to trying to benefit the planet (and thus the company and its shareholders) in the long term. In the video above you see Jeremy Nicholson, lobbyist and Director of the Intensive Energy Users Group – “a single-issue lobby group which campaigns for secure industrial energy supplies at internationally competitive prices”. Jeremy throws out the old lie about the need for baseload power for the electricity grid as a reason to keep investing in carbon polluting energy sources.

The baseload argument is an old one and one which was given its severest kicking recently when the Jon Wellinghof, Chairman of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said back in April that:

renewables like wind, solar and biomass will provide enough energy to meet baseload capacity and future energy demands. Nuclear and coal plants are too expensive, he added.

“I think baseload capacity is going to become an anachronism,” he said. “Baseload capacity really used to only mean in an economic dispatch, which you dispatch first, what would be the cheapest thing to do. Well, ultimately wind’s going to be the cheapest thing to do, so you’ll dispatch that first.”

Now if the chairman of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission believes that renewables can provide enough power to meet baseload and future energy demands, I’m going to take his word over e.on’s and their lobbyist’s.

e.on, some questions for you:

  • Does CO2 cause climate change (and the consequent deaths of thousands of people annually, not to mention species extinctions, environmental destruction, etc.)?
  • Do you care that your pollution is killing people and destroying the planet?
  • When do you plan to stop killing people, destroying the environment and driving species to extinction (i.e. when do you plan to stop emitting CO2)?

Seriously people, the correct order is planet first, then people, then profit.


July 27th Greenmonk Energy and Sustainability show

I had a lot of content to get through on the Energy and Sustainability show today (but it was all great stuff!) so I had to go at quite a clip. Above is the video from this week’s show and see the chatstream below:

03:26 Tom Raftery: Hey all, kicking off the show in a couple of minutes
03:30 @jimjar: Hi Tom. Tuning in for the first time.
03:31 Tom Raftery: Quick audio/video check – anyone see/hear me/
03:31 kcorrick: Can hear you and see you.
03:31 @jimjar: No
03:33 @jimjar: You’ve still not come back
03:34 Tom Raftery:
03:35 Tom Raftery:
03:36 @jimjar: Glitch seems to be my end – you’re back
03:37 Tom Raftery:
03:38 Tom Raftery:
03:40 Tom Raftery:
03:42 Tom Raftery:
03:42 [email protected]: We have tickets for the BGG – very disappointed about the late announcement. Seems designed to destroy the festival for the future also.
03:44 Tom Raftery:
03:45 Tom Raftery:
03:47 Tom Raftery:
03:48 Tom Raftery:
03:49 Tom Raftery:
03:50 Tom Raftery:
03:51 Tom Raftery:
03:52 Tom Raftery:
03:54 Tom Raftery:
03:55 Tom Raftery:
03:56 Tom Raftery:
03:58 Tom Raftery:
03:59 Tom Raftery:
04:00 Tom Raftery:
04:00 Tom Raftery:
04:02 Tom Raftery:
04:03 @jimjar: Great round-up, Tom, and love the format. Thanks! Will definitely try to tune in again soon.
04:04 Mrinal: Thanks Tom, enjoyed the show as always, enjoy your vacation
04:04 [email protected]: Good show – have a good holiday.
04:05 Tom Raftery: Thanks jimjar – glad you enjoyed it!
04:13 cgarvey: Missed the start and the end, but am catching up on the links and will get the recorded version later. Thanks, as always, Tom!
07:13 Tom Raftery: Thanks everyone for taking the time out to watch the show

post gives realtime CO2 intensity of electricity generation in the UK


If you actively select for cheaper electricity, you are de facto selecting for greener electricity because cheaper electricity has a higher % of renewable energy in the mix.

I wrote previously that it would be great if utility companies were mandated to publish realtime generation mix (% from coal, % for nuclear, % from wind, etc.).

Then if you had a truly open market for electricity, it should be possible to dynamically switch suppliers on the fly, based on the price and the realtime generation mix. If people were actively selecting for greener electricity (and given that cheaper electricity typically has a higher % of green, why wouldn’t they?), imagine the demand signal that would send to the suppliers! There would be an enormous rush to build more renewables and Kingsnorth would be shelved quicker than you can say “dirty coal”.

That idea is a step closer to reality today with the launch in the UK of This is a site which gives a realtime feed of just how “carbon intense” UK electricity is at any given moment. The data behind the real time feed comes directly from the computer systems that manage the UK’s electricity trading market. This data tells how much electricity each type of power generator (e.g. coal power stations or wind farms) are currently producing during any particular 5-minute interval.

One of the beauties of this site is that they provide an xml feed of the realtime carbon intensity data (see the pdf on how to access the feed for more info). The xml feed will allow organisations to programatically monitor the CO2 emissions associated with electricity generation in the UK. Thus it will be possible to have devices programmed to automatically respond to realtime CO2 intensity signals coming from i.e. shutting down when highly carbon intensive and starting up when carbon-light. This will be a big help in reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint. also has a forum where people can get involved suggesting methodology improvements, ways to improve the numbers (calculation or display) and how to use the data.

Now they just need to build this out for every other country on the planet!

[Disclosure – one of the companies involved in this project (AMEE) is a GreenMonk client]


April 20th GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show

Check out the video above of today’s GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show along with chat stream below:

04:30 TomRaftery : Hi all – kicking off the show in a min
04:30 mikeTheBee : Hello Tom.
04:30 ustreamer-40756 : Hiya
04:31 mikeTheBee : Could ustreamers note their names if poss.
04:31 TomRaftery : Audio & video ok?
04:31 mikeTheBee : Not yet for me
04:32 mikeTheBee : Okay
04:32 mikeTheBee : 6 viewers
04:32 Suki_Fuller : Hello all.
04:33 TomRaftery :
04:34 mikeTheBee : 7 viewers
04:35 TomRaftery :
04:35 mikeTheBee : 9 viewers
04:35 mikeTheBee : 11 viewers
04:36 ustreamer-19973 : how do we set out names?
04:36 mikeTheBee : Just a comment will work, or login for name
04:36 ustreamer-19973 : THanks i get it
04:36 TomRaftery :
04:37 monkchips : does the debate now move from Sustainability to Survivability?
04:37 ustreamer-19973 : 19973: Chris Phillips (Will create an account later(
04:37 monkchips : massive implications for which species we protect and so on
04:37 TolkienLibrary-2627 : you can type /nick and a nickname
04:37 monkchips : what the shit? whoa….
04:39 TomRaftery :
04:39 mikeTheBee : 10 viewers
04:39 monkchips : tom- what are the sustainability implications of Oracle acquiring Sun – or is that just too much of a stretch
04:40 monkchips : sun v positive on green.
04:40 monkchips : has done a lot of good work
04:40 monkchips : some nice low power techniques
04:41 TomRaftery :
04:41 TomRaftery :
04:42 mikeTheBee : 13 viewers
04:43 TomRaftery :
04:43 ustreamer-549 : ?
04:43 Suki_Fuller : Internationally also?
04:44 cminion-7005 : We they should have learnt that from history, if you look at how hte national grid came about
04:44 mikthebee-nametest : .
04:44 Suki_Fuller : Awesome.
04:45 TomRaftery :
04:45 mikeTheBee : Good tip re /nick TolkienLibrary, thx
04:45 monkchips : a lot of the good environmental news comes from China. that top down thing can be bloody useful in sustainability
04:45 TomRaftery :
04:46 mikeTheBee : Ought to work for the EU too!
04:47 TomRaftery :
04:48 monkchips : those fucking fucks. that is corporatism at best, fascism at worst
04:48 Suki_Fuller : That makes people in my profession look bad.
04:49 TomRaftery :
04:49 Suki_Fuller : *Shame*
04:49 monkchips : UK police share info with the “department for business, enterprise and regulatory reform”#
04:49 monkchips : which then shares it with a French company, with a huge French government shareholding
04:50 monkchips : to establish coherent PR story etc
04:51 Suki_Fuller : @monkchip – Exactly – bite the nose to spite the face
04:51 ustreamer-73483 : hi folks
04:51 TomRaftery :
04:52 mikeTheBee : 14 Viewers
04:53 ustreamer-73483 : the irish sea?
04:53 ustreamer-73483 : jesus
04:53 monkchips : its easier to catch the fish when they glow in the dark…
04:53 ustreamer-73483 : justin
04:53 Suki_Fuller : lol
04:53 Suki_Fuller : not right James not right
04:53 ustreamer-73483 : what fish?
04:53 TomRaftery :
04:53 mikeTheBee : Sellafield processing rather storage surely.
04:55 JustinParks : long term investment?
04:55 monkchips : i think its goodness
04:55 TomRaftery :
04:55 monkchips : research has shown
04:56 monkchips : that small areas, kept clear, can significantly increase biodiversity
04:56 cminion-7005 : less food transported, less petrol required to drive people around???
04:56 monkchips : @tomraftery – its just the Ryanair model for the globe. pay at the point of excretion
04:56 mikeTheBee : Ah Ryan Air per Kg charing
04:57 JustinParks : Im not going to mention the Cow emissions in congunction with fat folk
04:57 Suki_Fuller : The only people that get upset are fat
04:57 monkchips : more likely to drive? nah – the morbidly obese have those nice
04:57 monkchips : little electric cars….
04:57 JustinParks : better…
04:57 TomRaftery :
04:58 JustinParks : I saw a documentry on this
04:58 JustinParks : paid to farm nothing
04:59 TolkienLibrary-2627 : good concept
04:59 TolkienLibrary-2627 : viva Costa Rica…
04:59 Suki_Fuller : Coolio
04:59 TolkienLibrary-2627 : and Borneo
05:00 TomRaftery :
05:00 JustinParks : Here Tom:
05:00 monkchips : gotta run! client call. thanks Tom. great show as ever
05:01 mikeTheBee : Did you hear? Siemans comment re Dublin’s Carbon Footprint being bigger than Londons, per capita.
05:01 JustinParks : did you check
05:02 TolkienLibrary-2627 : now following you at twitter… this was great! thnxs
05:02 JustinParks : yeah goodo so very environmental orientated site
05:03 JustinParks : that could be fun
05:03 mikeTheBee : Thx all
05:03 Suki_Fuller : Wow. Great articles today & as always awesome show
05:03 JustinParks : spammers contribution to climate change
05:03 TomRaftery : Thanks everyone for a great show
05:03 mikeTheBee : Thx Tom
05:03 JustinParks : thnaks Tom
05:03 JustinParks : lluegoi
05:03 Suki_Fuller : Thanks Tom
05:03 TomRaftery : Justin – you are right – forgot to mention the spam carbon footprint story – d’oh!
05:04 TolkienLibrary-1882 : thnxs Tom
05:04 TomRaftery : Thanks for the kind words Suki
05:04 JustinParks : lolo seriously?
05:05 TomRaftery : I’ll get link – one sec
05:05 JustinParks : I was “kindof” takin the mick… out of spammers
05:05 JustinParks : but I suppose its very true
05:05 cgarvey : sorry, missed it.. will catch the recording hopefully!
05:06 TolkienLibrary-1882 : don’t know who tweeted about this show, but came in by twitter…
05:06 TolkienLibrary-1882 : loved the articles…
05:06 TomRaftery :–633
05:07 TomRaftery : TolkienLibrary – great, thanks for joining in
05:07 TomRaftery : This time every Monday
05:07 TomRaftery : cgarvey – I’ll have the recording up shortly on
05:07 TolkienLibrary-1882 : so spam not only bad for my productivity it seems!
05:07 JustinParks : thanks, pleasure Tom, gotta run
05:08 TomRaftery : TolkienLibrary, exactly
05:08 TolkienLibrary-1882 : what would be the impact of twitter on the environment?
05:09 TomRaftery : Significant too I suspect but it can be a force for good – I use it to disseminate stories
05:09 ustreamer-35467 : Tom sorry Joe and I missed you today, Cheers Mark (Charmer)…
05:09 TomRaftery : np Mark – will have recording on GreenMonk later today
05:11 TolkienLibrary-1882 : whenever you ask a question, the answer is already somewhere on the internet: